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Sitton v. State

Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 1, 2018

David L. SITTON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF OREGON, by and through its Department of Transportation, Defendant-Respondent.

          Argued and submitted March 20, 2017

          Multnomah County Circuit Court 15CV15504; Jerome E. LaBarre, Judge.

          Erick J. Haynie argued the cause for appellant. Also on the briefs was Perkins Coie LLP.

          Robert M. Wilsey, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the briefs were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Tookey, Judge, and Shorr, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Plaintiff appeals a judgment that dismissed his negligence claim on summary judgment. The trial court granted the state's motion for summary judgment on the ground that ORS 30.265(6)(a) makes the state immune from liability to plaintiff for his injuries because his injuries were covered by the workers' compensation law. Plaintiff assigns error to the trial court's grant of summary judgment, contending that ORS 30.265(6)(a) violates Article I, sections 10 and 20, of the Oregon Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

         Held:

         The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment. The Court of Appeals concluded that its case law was directly adverse to plaintiff's arguments that ORS 30.265(6)(a) violates Article I, section 20, and the Fourteenth Amendment. The court did not consider plaintiff's argument that ORS 30.265(6)(a) violates Article I, section 10 as construed in Horton v. OHSU, 359 Or 168, 376 P.3d 998 (2016), because he raised that argument for the first time in his reply brief.

         Affirmed.

         [293 Or.App. 149] ARMSTRONG, P. J.

         Plaintiff appeals a judgment that dismissed his negligence claim on summary judgment. Plaintiff was injured in a vehicular accident while he was driving an 18-wheel tractor trailer for work. Plaintiff filed this negligence action against the State of Oregon claiming that the state's design and maintenance of a highway interchange led to the accident and his resulting injuries. The state moved for summary judgment, contending that ORS 30.265(6)(a) makes the state immune from liability to plaintiff for his injuries because plaintiff's injuries were covered by the workers' compensation law. The trial court agreed with the state, granted summary judgment, and dismissed the action. Plaintiff assigns error to the trial court's grant of summary judgment, contending that ORS 30.265(6)(a) violates Article I, sections 10 and 20, of the Oregon Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United State Constitution.[1]For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the trial court did not err and affirm.

         Plaintiff was driving an 18-wheel tractor trailer westbound on Interstate 84 in Portland near the interchange with Interstate 5. He was driving in the middle lane, and a car was in the right lane. As both vehicles approached the interchange, the car changed lanes into the side of the tractor trailer. The accident caused the tractor trailer to crash through a guard rail at the interchange, fly off the interstate, and fall approximately 50 feet. Plaintiff suffered severe injuries. Plaintiff qualified for and received workers' compensation benefits, including partial lost wages and partially reimbursed medical expenses.

         Plaintiff brought a negligence action against the state, seeking both economic and noneconomic damages for the state's alleged negligent design and maintenance of the interchange. The state moved for summary judgment, contending that ORS 30.265(6)(a) immunized the state from ...


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